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Internet Marketing According to Amazon Mechanical Turk

March 31st, 2012

amazon-mturk-logo.jpgA few months ago I signed up as a requester on Amazon Mechanical Turk after reading about the possibilities of outsourcing content creation and other tasks there. Although many of the submissions from workers are not exactly of the best quality and one must always be vigilant about plagiarism so that it can be rejected upon detection, I have had some cases of surprisingly well-written articles being completed for a very low cost.

As an experiment I set up an assignment at Amazon Mechanical Turk where I had the workers write an article about their experiences with Internet marketing and their attempts to make money online. I set a minimum word count of 200 with no maximum. There were no keyword restrictions or other parameters; they only had to maintain general topical relevance and not plagiarize from other sources. The pay rate was 50 cents for each article, with another 5 cents going to Amazon as commission for a total cost of 55 cents. I also paid out some bonuses for particularly high quality submissions, but for requesters this is always optional.

Perhaps not surprisingly, many of the submissions that I received were basically irrelevant garbage, and many more were simply copies of Wikipedia articles. Fortunately I was able to reject these and even block the associated workers from my assignments in cases where it became obvious that they were trying to “game the system” and actually lacked any real ability to write English text. However, at the other end of the spectrum I also had a few workers who clearly went above and beyond the requirements of the assignment and provided me with some genuinely interesting content that was good enough to be posted to a website with only minimal editing. Here are three of the recent submissions that would fall into the latter category.

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